Our Focus – High Definition Authentic Learning

RJ Stangherlin is a Language Arts teacher at Salisbury High School in Salisbury Township School District.  She is PA DEN’s representative at this year’s T+L2 conference.  She will be providing us with insights and happenings at T+L2 through her daily blogs.

Today reminded me of a dialogue that once surfaced on a Keystone Technology Integration webinar sidebar: the differences between instructional technology specialists and teachers, aka them and us.  So I’d like to deviate from my usual summative format and revisit who we all really are—educators.  Sometimes in the passion for our differentiated professions, ISTs must become frustrated with the teachers they service and vice versa.  I can speak to this notion firsthand.  You can always identify the technologist in my building; he wears a halo he has earned from meeting my needs.  His name is Chris Smith and I know that I could not function without him.  It’s that simple. 

On the other hand, I keep him in a job.  Without my technology integration and that of my colleagues, he would have a great technology toolbox with no market.  Let’s face it: I am oversimplifying the issue, but to a point.  We’re all in this together, and our combined mission as educators is to service the needs of our students.  Without them, our specialized knowledge becomes a moot point.

My posting might imply some dichotomy within our group and that’s just not so.  I even hesitated to broach the subject, but since one of our DEN members felt the need to defend teachers as technology integrators, I thought I might get your feedback.  I will never be an ITS or anything remotely approximating it.  But I will push to get to the cutting edge, crossing curricula, integrating technology, and jumping through whatever hoop I must to deliver High Definition Authentic Learning, and I won’t be the one wearing the halo.  Please do not tell me I am an exception—I’m just a teacher and proud of it.

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